Obama's Falling Numbers No Panacea for Conservatives

Conservatives, increasingly in the political wilderness on the national level since the disastrous 2006 midterms, are smiling at the news of sinking poll numbers for President Obama. The RCP average of polls of the president’s national approval numbers show President Obama at his lowest approval score in 17 months -- just over 45%.

The president has been buffeted by scandals early in his second term, including the IRS targeting of Tea Party, pro-Israel, and pro-life groups; surveillance of reporters from AP, Fox News, and likely CBS (Sharyl Attkisson); the Benghazi debacle; and the vast NSA monitoring program revealed by Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian. Another scandal lurks now regarding whether the Clinton administration was responsible for a cover-up relating to the midair explosion of TWA Flight 800 in 1996.

All of these stories striking within a few weeks have weakened Americans' trust in their government. Meanwhile, this administration desires nothing more than the expansion of government and the increasing of American dependence on government largesse.

Conservatives hoping that the weakening approval scores will make Obama more circumspect about advancing his agenda are dreaming, and certainly are not watching what is going on in Washington. Just as in the months leading up to the passage of Obamacare, the president and his team are focused on pushing through a big piece of the president’s agenda -- a massive immigration reform bill. That bill will provide a path to citizenship for 11 million illegals already here, and will significantly increase the flow of legal immigrants to the United States.

The majority of those who will be legalized or allowed into the country in the future will be unskilled Hispanic immigrants from Central and South America. The bill will also increase the number of skilled immigrants (mainly Asians), but this share of legal immigration may be no more than 10% of the total. This is a result of “chain immigration” (the allowance for family members of legal immigrants to also immigrate) that is expanded by the new bill.

Unlike in Canada, where legal immigration has occurred at far higher rates than in the United States but with preferences for skilled immigrants, the new reform bill will likely guarantee that a record high percentage of new legal immigrants will not fall into the skilled category.

If the immigration bill reflecting the views of the Gang of Eight in the Senate passes and is signed into law, President Obama will have achieved a massive political benefit for his party by creating a flow of tens of millions of future voters -- most of whom will be lower-income Americans likely to support Democrats and to back richer government-benefit programs when they get the opportunity to vote. Conservatives can cheer themselves with Obama’s poll numbers, which in some cases seem to be sinking by the day, but the longer political war is being won legislatively by the left.

The immigration debate has demonstrated that the Right is in a civil war of sorts regarding immigration reform, while the left is rather united in wanting the bill passed. One could find reasons why African Americans might oppose the new immigration reform, since it will provide a lot of new competition for lower-wage workers. Unions could also find reasons to oppose the bill, since it will likely drive down or at least constrain wage levels, as the first CBO analysis of the bill confirmed.

But this is not the case.